Software and Hardware IT Support is an outsourced multi-layered IT maintenance solution that incorporates elements of remote and on-site managed IT support. The vendor will assess the most efficient means of supplying Software and Hardware IT Support and deliver an agreed package of tailored resources relevant to the service user’s current and future IT requirements.
What is Included in Software Support?
The recommended extent and type of Software and Hardware IT Support will vary depending on the IT requirements of the service user. The vendor will work with the service user in developing a better understanding of the exact type of software support required in order to provide a tailored package of cost effective resources.
Types of software support that may be included:
- Systems Software - Systems software broadly refers to an Operating System (OS) such as Windows or Mac OS. The OS is dedicated to the operation and control of all system applications (e.g. software suites). Systems software could also include firmware, which is dedicated to the functionality of a particular piece of hardware (e.g. this could include a CD drive or a modem).
- Applications Software - Application software is also known as an end-user program or productivity program. This includes any type of software designed to function as a singular computer program. Examples of application software may include an off-the-shelf word processor, a web browser, email, design or graphics suite, or a firewall.
What is Included in Hardware Support?
Hardware support includes both proactive and reactive maintenance measures relating to all physical IT components that collectively make up an individual workstation or IT network infrastructure. Depending on a company’s size and relative IT requirements, hardware support may incorporate varying levels of planned or ‘break-fix’ IT support.
Server Support - All workstations (and all devices in a Bring Your Own Device partitioned network) must be connected to a central server in order to store and access shared files/programs. This critical reliance on access to a fully functional server means that server support is one of the main features of outsourced professional hardware support.
Other types of hardware support that may be covered by a complete package of Software and Hardware IT Support may include:
- Graphics/Sound Card
- Motherboard & Power Supply
- Central Processing Unit (CPU)
- Random Access Memory (RAM)
- Hard Drive (HHD) & Solid State Drive (SSD)
Cabling may also feature as a considered type of hardware support relevant to the needs of the client. Where the service user requires assistance with cabling issues, the service provider will dispatch trained IT engineers to ascertain the most efficient cabling layout relative to the size and potential expansion of the network.
Software and Hardware IT Support - Service Level Agreement
The terms of a Software and Hardware IT Support package must be agreed between the professional third party vendor and the service user in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). As part of the SLA, the vendor will typically offer a suitable consultatìon period, during which the exact nature of the business (including aims and future goals) will be measured against the relative effectiveness of the current IT infrastructure.
Recommendations over how to ensure the ongoing stability of the network will help to inform the service user on the likely level of Software and Hardware IT Support required. This could include suggestions relating to any advisable future-proofing strategies (such as planning for server expansion and any requisite cabling that may be involved in relocating to a larger business premises).
Why is Software and Hardware IT Support Essential?
Software and Hardware IT Support plays an essential role in preventing unauthorised access to sensitive data in the form of a cyber attack. This is because typical software packages rollout updates every 1-4 months, with advances in hardware allowing for the updated software to function as intended by the developer.
Software and Hardware IT Support from a professional third party vendor will typically include automatic or arranged software and hardware updates, delivering bug fixes and updated security features. This significantly reduces the risk of a security breach by removing gaps in security that may be exploited by cyber criminals.
:IT Support Delivery - Help Desk & Ticketing System
Service users are typically provided with a help desk or ticketing system as a first point of contact for Software and Hardware IT Support issues. The help desk or ticketing system may be accessed by telephone, or via online services such as email or live chat. The aim is to gather all important information relating to the software or hardware issue and to alert the relevant support staff.
Once the ticket has been raised, the service user can expect to be given access to an online tracking system that will advise on the current status of the fix. The vendor will collate the information raised in support tickets in order to identify trends so as to provide faster future access to a resolution (resolutions may include self-service instructions, remote access solutions, or on-site engineer support).